I’ve been squirreling away antique paperback copies of Bill S. Ballinger’s work for a long time, having first gotten hold of his Barr Breed mysteries and then moved on to his Joaquin Hawks espionage series, before devouring his many suspense novels. It was mystifying why his work had drifted into obscurity. So, in 2018, it was rewarding to have a hand in bringing a couple of his novels (Portrait in Smoke and The Longest Second) back into print and contribute the introduction to the collection.
The second volume of Ballinger’s suspense stories was published this past month. The popular The Wife of the Red-Haired Man and The Tooth and the Nail—once considered one of the finest suspense novels of American writing in the twentieth century—have been out of print for decades. The latter is one of my favorite tales, and so naturally, I was delighted to write a book introduction discussing the novel and the author’s unique narrative style.
There is an especially good review of this latest collection by Alan Cranis of Bookgasm. “The late Bill S. Ballinger published several mystery novels that are noteworthy for their unorthodox narrative structure, as evidenced by the two novels republished in this new edition from Stark House Press,” writes Cranis. “Novelist and editor Nicholas Litchfield provides an introduction that traces Ballinger’s career and the development of his dual-plot technique. Litchfield notes that both of these novels, originally published in the mid-1950s, were well praised by critics and reviewers. Contemporary readers will equally applaud these works and find them well worth their time.”
For the full review, visit Bookgasm.